Todai ga tsukutta Korei-Shakai no Kyokasho (An Aged Society Textbook Created by the University of Tokyo - Designing Your Life and Creating Society in an Era of Longevity)
Population aging and increasing longevity are phenomena evolving on a global scale. Japan is one of the most “advanced” in the world in terms of population aging and longevity. Recently, the terms “aging” and “increasing longevity” have been used almost always—as if they were must-have keywords—in discussing social issues or prospects for the future. However, what is it like being in an increasingly aging society? What is it like living a long life? What challenges are we facing and must be addressed? There are a whole lot of things we do not know about the elderly and aged society. We all get old so long as we live. However, probably not many people see this as something happening to themselves, having a clear idea of how their own lives and those of people close to them would change with the aging of society and themselves. It may be the case that not knowing makes people feel a vague sense of anxiety about their future and future society.
This book is a compilation of works by a group of researchers doing research on aging and gerontology at the University of Tokyo, led by faculty members of the Institute of Gerontology (IOG) established in April 2009, to provide a complete set of basic knowledge everyone living in this aged society should have. Issues associated with aging are diverse, ranging from health, employment, money, caregiving, and pensions to technology, town development, and more. What we see is a flood of issues that cannot be solved on the basis of any single academic discipline or area of professional expertise. This book covers a variety of themes associated with population aging, going beyond the conventional disciplinary boundaries. It consists of a general discussion followed by two parts, one focusing on the challenges individuals would experience in their old age and the other focusing on social institutions and systems. We minimized the number of pages for each theme and used as many charts and tables as possible to make the book easy to follow even for those completely unfamiliar with themes covered. The book is intended to serve as an introductory textbook to provide an overview of issues associated with an aged society or a collection of materials containing basic knowledge thereon in the course of everyday life and learning, business, administration, and various other activities such as those of non-profit organizations (NPOs).
The book is an official text for those intending to take a Gerontology Literacy Test. The Co-Creation Center for Active Aging (CCAA), headed by Hiroko Akiyama, professor at the IOG, the University of Tokyo, has been administering the test since FY2013 to certify successful applicants as “Gerontology Expert,” a private qualification. Every year, a broad range of people—i.e., individuals wishing to learn about the aged society and use the knowledge to draw their own life design, company employees engaged in the development of products and services responding to the needs of an aged society, government officials responsible for relevant programs and policymaking, etc.—take the test.
(Written by SUGAWARA Ikuko, Project Lecturer of Institute of Gerontology and OKATA Junichiro, Professor, School of Engineering / 2018)